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Preview article about Sacred 3 gameplay features


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#1 Silver_fox

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 08:13 AM

The official Russian Sacred fan-site (located at http://allsacred.ru) published a preview of Sacred 3, which one of their authors wrote after playing the press-release version of the game. This site is affiliated with the Russian publishers for the Sacred game series, so it looks believable that they already laid their hands on the press-release.

 

I haven't yet seen any English article describing the gameplay features, so I'll tell you what the Russian one is about - at least it'll give you some info to discuss before the reviews from the English sources appear. The original Russian article is located here: http://allsacred.ru/...ticle&artid=640 There is also another Russian preview for Sacred 3 press-release, located here: http://www.rpgarea.r...v-deystvii.html This one has less in-depth info and more personal opinions, but I added some facts from it that are not present in the first article.

 

Both reviewer's opinions confirm our suspicions that Sacred 3 is a game of a pretty different genre than the first two. It is described as a slasher rather that an RPG and the first reviewer went as far as likening the gameplay to "simplified Devil May Cry in the world of Sacred Citadel". The overall opinions are that the game is rather fun and dynamic, so if you have a console with a couple of controllers, a giant TV, several friends and lots of beer, it's not a bad idea to grab it. But if you expect something like Sacred 1 and 2 or at least a half-decent RPG, you'd be disappointed. Also, while the game is fun to play once, you probably won't replay it for the second time due to its rather simple mechanics.

 

Now a bit about details. I'll try to translate more exactly here, because I know that it's what many of you would be interested to read about. 

 

Combat Arts:

Every character has 2 (two) unique CAs - "light hit" and "heavy hit" ones. Using these abilities requires special energy that can be refilled by gathering orbs that drop from monster and this energy also regenerates with time. Each of these two CAs has its own charge-bar, but the energy regenerates for both at the same time.

Besides these two special class-specific CAs, each character has the following moves:

  •  Normal Hit - a regular hit (equivalent to left mouse click in the first two games) which you would use most often while waiting for the energy for the special ones to regenerate. Hits done in quick succession can be executed as a three-hit combo, which gains special features depending on the character class.
  • Charged Hit - it isn't used to deal damage, but serves other purposes, like breaking shields, stopping enemies from casting spells, or breaking traps.
  • Defensive move - a standard roll move, which surprisingly can be used not only to evade hits, but to deal damage and to just move through the location. The movement speed and offensive capabilities of the move were such that the reviewer ended up rolling instead of walking through the locations.
  • Finishing move - can be used on the enemies that fell to the ground and kills them in one hit.

When the character levels up, he/she can unlock different hits for these categories and exchange the ones the character currently uses for these new versions. And that is pretty much all the characters gain at level up. Each type of hits has development line, albeit a very limited one, but the player is quite limited about which hits can be used at the same time.

 

Weapon Spirits:

Besides the types of active hits listed above, characters can have a sort of permanent passive buff by using the Weapon Spirits. You have a chance to release a weapon spirit when you defeat enemies, and once released, those companions stay with you. They can comment about the action, though their phrases are rather repetitive, and of course they influence the combat by strengthening or weakening the characters and/or opponents. For example the Dark Elf spirit (!) enhances your Charged Hit but causes hits to drain your own life. The big downside of the Weapon Spirits is that they were designed with party-play in mind and most give benefits to the party but are not so good for the single character.

 

Equipment and Loot:

Sadly, you can forget about dropping items and full inventory. In fact you won't even have an inventory at all. The loot system is very close to Sacred Citadel - when you kill a boss you have a chance to get a weapon or armor as a reward. And that is all you have of equipment - a weapon slot (fixed kind of weapons for a class) and an armor slot (full armor, no division to chestplate, helmet, amulets and such). Armor drops rarely, can't be customized in looks nor stats, but can slightly improve by "leveling up the item" if you wear it for a long time. Normal, non-boss enemies can drop only gold and orbs of health and energy, but no items. And the bosses are only encountered in the end of each location. And as you have no inventory, the change of equipment is possible only between locations.

 

Battle System:

The game is a dynamic and well-made slasher, fluid and quite pleasant, but quite simple and not hardcore as far as the slashers go. It's a strongest side of the game - you quickly hit, hack, slash, and throw enemies around. You can also lift an enemy if it's not much bigger than the character and throw it to the ground or to another enemy. At times the slashing changes to special mechanics - you need to turn a lever, or to break the gates, or to hold ground and survive the hordes of enemies running to you. There is nothing original in those mini-games, but they make for a good change of pace.

 

Level Design:

We all know that S3 won't have the open world, but it was never explicitly said before that it is a corridor game. Well, it is. You go through a series of separate levels and each one of them is a narrow corridor, not really branching and limited by walls, hedges and the main quest that pushes you forward. Between two "big" levels you need to defeat a level boss, each one of them comes with its own introduction  - those are done Borderlands-style: with showing the boss close up and writing its name on screen. Sometimes between big levels there is a small arena-like one, where you encounter increased numbers of monsters who drop more gold for you. As you don't use inventory and don't shop, the gold is used to develop your abilities (instead of XP).

 

Controls:

The press-release can be controlled only by console gamepad, this version simply does not support keyboard. So there is no info about how good or bad keyboard controls are - but you can see how much the devs prioritize the PC controls.

 

That's it, folks. I just translated all the info that I found in two Russian reviews, so the info might not be exact in some places where the reviewers were not clear enough, but maybe it would paint the general picture for you.


Edited by gogoblender, 26 June 2014 - 08:45 AM.

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#2 Silver_fox

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 08:21 AM

Gogo, can you please fix the typo in the topic title (or just write a title you think is more fitting). I noticed it only after posting, and I don't have permissions to rename topics.


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#3 gogoblender

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 08:46 AM

Silver, this is an great write up! Thanks for helping the community out with the translation, for this surprise take/turn on the franchise.

Edit to title done!

:)

 

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#4 PurpleSpace

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 08:57 AM

It does sound fun, but not the rpg we were hoping. I was also hoping it would have mazes, caves, and forests to go through that weren't simply corridors.

I think they got confused on what an rpg is supposed to be :P



#5 gogoblender

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 09:06 AM

I agree on this.

This is definitely not we have been devoted to for years and years ( and years!) now

However...if we pull back for perspective.. could we see it that they created this as a "break" for us to just get a quick fix from...then one day... years from now...they'll return the series to normal?

...we can dream

:)

 

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#6 SX255

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 02:13 PM

Wow, never expected to read a game review with the word "cas****ed" for a short description.

 

 

SilverFox, you skipped one of the best parts in the review – glitches!

And now I’m looking forward to videos of epic gamebreaking dodgerolling:

 

Mostly the game behaves very strangely, as if the developers poorly understood what they will face from an introduction of a skill - dodge roll lets you navigate through the map faster than normal running, has no rollbacks, gives invulnerability, and with one of the first improvements deals damage to standard enemies and environment. At level 9, I just stopped using the other buttons - I rolled on the ground from the beginning to the end of the level, on legendary difficulty driving through hordes of enemies, barrels, shelters, barriers and fences. A seraphim with an iron forehead. Critical damage of normal sword - 23. From "rolling" - 20. Yes, this is the first game where there is a critical dodge roll.

 


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#7 Silver_fox

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 02:35 PM

Wow, never expected to read a game review with the word "cas****ed" for a short description.

You just don't read Russian reviews frequently. The authors do not always try to find polite and formal expressions and use informal language and jargon more often than not. 

 

I'm sorry for skipping this part, SX. It's just the common and frequently seen case - the most obvious bugs and issues pointed out in preliminary press reviews before the release almost always get fixed by the time of official public demo-version and/or public release. It was so with too many games, up to the point where the reviewers re-wrote their critical articles because the public release was wa-ay more polished than the press version. So I mentioned that the guy rolled his way through the levels, but decided not to elaborate about the damage and crits.

 

On the other hand, after the devs and community managers said a lot of words about polishing this game to be bug-free, seeing such an obvious mechanics issue in the press version leaves a sour taste.

 

Another thing that I forgot to write, which I don't remember mentioned on DarkMatters before - the levelcap for Sacred 3 comes at level 50, not 200 like before. The press version appears to be limited in amount of levels which is possible to get - the enemies are limited in level and it's not possible to grind many levels for the playable characters, so both reviewers complained about not being able to try out all hit and move modifications and evaluate how interesting they are.


Edited by Silver_fox, 26 June 2014 - 02:37 PM.

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#8 Flix

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 04:08 PM

Thanks for the info.  I don't think this game is for me, I'll probably stop following it now.


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#9 Yoshio

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 01:15 AM

As Flix said, what I had feard seems now to come true and I might not follow this any longer.



#10 podgie_bear

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 02:44 AM

Sadly I didn't expect any other and stopped following it ages ago. Thank God I still have an older computer running winXP and capable of playing the decent old RPG games from GOG.com. I haven't seen a good RPG being made in years. Most new ones seem to be dumbed down to pretty graphics but no real interaction with the world. Unlike older games where your actions have consequences and actually affect the gameworld.


Edited by podgie_bear, 27 June 2014 - 02:50 AM.

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#11 Flix

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 04:02 AM

I haven't seen a good RPG being made in years.

 

You need to get ready for Divinity: Original Sin then.

 

This is really what people should be getting psyched about.


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#12 Dragon Brother

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 04:39 AM

Well...I kinda had hope up til this point. Now...such a shame.



#13 Ryanrocker

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 10:15 AM

After seeing the Sacred 3 news here, I don't think I'll be following it anymore either.

This is really what people should be getting psyched about.

However, Divinity is looking to be amazing can't wait for it to come out in a few more days! :D



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#14 Knuckles

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 08:46 AM

Gotta agree with everyone else.....although I was pessimistic about S3 for quite awhile, I was holding on to the hope that it would still be something I could enjoy. After reading that review, that hope is gone completely.

 

Looks like I'll stick with Grim Dawn (I highly recommend this one) and have looked at Divinity quite a bit in the last day or so. It seems like something I would enjoy. Though it being turn-based gives me pause. Haven't played that style since Baldur's Gate (but I did enjoy that). Just seems to be geared more toward SP to me.

 

Really been looking for a real-time combat MP arpg...right now D3 is the only one of that type I'm playing, though I'm starting to get burnt out doing just bounties/rifts and not finding upgrades for weeks at a time.



#15 Flix

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 06:23 PM

Gotta agree with everyone else.....although I was pessimistic about S3 for quite awhile, I was holding on to the hope that it would still be something I could enjoy. After reading that review, that hope is gone completely.

 

Looks like I'll stick with Grim Dawn (I highly recommend this one) and have looked at Divinity quite a bit in the last day or so. It seems like something I would enjoy. Though it being turn-based gives me pause. Haven't played that style since Baldur's Gate (but I did enjoy that). Just seems to be geared more toward SP to me.

 

Really been looking for a real-time combat MP arpg...right now D3 is the only one of that type I'm playing, though I'm starting to get burnt out doing just bounties/rifts and not finding upgrades for weeks at a time.

 

I guess if there's a demo for Sacred 3 I'll play it, since it would be free.  I've always played the demos for new games even if I never intended to buy them.

 

Still waiting for a proper Grim Dawn release.  I have a feeling it will fill the hack and slash dungeon crawling void.  Of course I still play Sacred 1 & 2 regularly, plus Titan Quest, Torchlight 1 & 2, so I'm not really dying for a new fix yet.

 

Divinity: Original Sin is supposed to take a lot of pride in its multiplayer features, in fact the developers have said a few times that is the preferred way to play it.  I think this is not only because of the combat advantages, but because players can cooperate to handle the dialogues and quest solutions as well.  And the options can change based on whether the two players agree or disagree about how to proceed.  It seems really in-depth.

 

Baldur's Gate combat was actually real-time with active pause for issuing orders.   The hidden mechanics were turn-based but the battles always played out in real time.  If you wanted to, and had the reflexes, you could handle every battle without ever pausing the game.  Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age, all the greats of that genre were the same way.  I would actually prefer this kind of combat for a tactical game like D:OS.  The key thing is that you have complete control over whether you need to spend a lot of time paused setting up strategical moves or whether you could just charge in in a blaze of glory.   True turn-based combat on the other hand takes that freedom away from you.  It has always felt clunky and absurd to me, and it's a struggle for me not to be embarrassed when a modern RPG like Divinity: Original Sin or Torment: Tides of Numenera decides to go that route.  I'll buy both games to be sure, but they have a higher bar to pass because of that choice.


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#16 Silver_fox

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 05:56 AM

Baldur's Gate combat was actually real-time with active pause for issuing orders... The key thing is that you have complete control over whether you need to spend a lot of time paused setting up strategical moves or whether you could just charge in in a blaze of glory. True turn-based combat on the other hand takes that freedom away from you. 

Well, it's a matter of opinion, and Flix's opinion, while popular, is not the only one. I have to confess that for me it was always the opposite way around - I preferred turn-based games to active pause, because in the end I played them both in the same way. I spent most of my time paused and thinking up the best strategy, just for the interest of it, not because it was strictly necessary. If the strategy became completely unnecessary and battles could be won by simple charge, I started to lose interest in the game, because just crashing through everything without even bothering to think became boring soon enough. So the games with the active pause felt like emulation of turn-based ones on real-time engine that force you to control the length of turns. I spent most of combat time nervously holding the pause button lest I miss the right moment to press it. With real turn-base there is no wrong moment to pause, and no unnecessary stress. For some people less stress= less excitement, so it's a matter of opinion again, but I'd rather calmly observe the battlefield and enjoy its design than peer into characters' moves to choose a pausing moment. 

 

In my opinion, for games that take pride in their strategy and were designed so that the strategy was necessary to use most of the time - just charging into battle without thinking would just get you killed - turn-based combat is a good choice of system. It's just my opinion and I know that I'm a minority here, but I wanted to remind you that minority exists.

 

There is enough action games around there, and some, like Sacred series start to prioritize action over thinking with next installments. The majority of players crave for real-time action and there are and would be games that deliver what they want. Personally, I see nothing "absurd" and "embarrassing" in the fact that some game developers remember about the minority of players who like different genres and still make games for them. Flix just listed a lot of good and quite recent games with "action combat" and "active-pause combat" that are available for people who like these subgenres, but I can't do the same for turn-based games. I'll always vote for variety in every means of entertainment so I'm mightily glad that the industry would have something to offer in subgenres that are currently lacking. Those won't be games for everybody, but you should not talk like they are for nobody at all just because they are not exactly your cup of tea. In fact, when I read the developers' decisions for D:OS and Torment, I wanted to applaud the devs, just because they had guts to stick to the game-design they thought would be best for their games despite knowing that it's unpopular.

 

Back to the topic - funny enough, but I feel that what I just said applies to Sacred 3 in a way. They changed the game mechanics drastically, it fell into "not my cup of tea" category for almost everybody here on Dark Matters, and generally among Sacred series fans. I've seen a lot of negative responses to the new mechanics both during development and now, and I'm yet to see a single fan who would defend it. But is Sacred 3 really that horrible? When I read and re-read the reviews I realized that the game isn't bad in what it does - it does different things from what we expected, but not badly. It won't be a game I play, won't even try the demo because I'm not interested in the subgenre. But I think the game would find its players, unless the unlikely title would make them expect something different and scare them away. After all, well-made dynamic actions were always popular, and lack of length and replay-ability is a norm rather than major shortcoming nowadays. So, surprising as it is, I think that S3 would get rather positive reviews in press, where people would judge it as "another new game", not as "a Sacred game". That's a paradox - the first two games were generally ill-received because of their bugs, but we loved them. The third game would maybe get better reception, but it won't be something we would like.


Edited by Silver_fox, 30 June 2014 - 06:09 AM.

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#17 Flix

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 06:49 AM

I'm ready to have my mind changed about turn-based combat in RPG's. In fact, I'm kind of desperately hoping to because I really want to play and enjoy Original Sin and Tides of Numenera.

 

I guess I wanted to enjoy Sacred 3 as well which is why I said I'd at least demo it.


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#18 jaxx

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 10:56 AM

Light hit, heavy hit and defensive move? What is this, Sacred 3 or Mortal Kombat? :nono:



#19 Ryanrocker

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 05:41 PM

Light hit, heavy hit and defensive move? What is this, Sacred 3 or Mortal Kombat? :nono:

Is it actual Mortal Kombat 12, but they haven't told anyone?  :o

No wonder the devs have kept quiet so long, they were keeping it a surprise for the MK fan base  :P



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#20 SX255

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 03:32 AM

Light hit, heavy hit and defensive move? What is this, Sacred 3 or Mortal Kombat? :nono:

Is it actual Mortal Kombat 12, but they haven't told anyone?  :o

No wonder the devs have kept quiet so long, they were keeping it a surprise for the MK fan base  :P

Well, they do have Cyrax in the main cast.


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